The Bicentennial Conservatory
The majestic Bicentennial Conservatory set in the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide is one of South Australia's major tourism drawcards. Its futuristic design dominates the landscape, looking like an enormous spaceship visiting the rose gardens nearby.
Bicentennial Conservatory @ Botanic Gardens in Adelaide
Opened in 1989 to celebrate Australia's Bicentenary
, this spectacular edifice was designed by local architect Guy Maron and has received many awards. At 100 metres long it is the largest single span conservatory in the southern hemisphere, and was built to exhibit a tropical rainforest in Australia.
The Gently Sloping Walkway Offers Great Views
Adelaide's temperate climate meant that tropical plants would need heating in winter to reach their normal preferred range of 23-33 degrees Centigrade. After concern about the cost and impact on greenhouse emissions, in early 2012 the conservatory was restocked to become a subtropical rainforest which would need no artificial heating during winter.
Almost Like Being on a Different Planet
Once inside I felt that I had been transported to Jurassic Park. Eerily melodic bird calls echoed from invisible inhabitants. An earthy organic miasmal aroma assailed my nostrils. I became sticky with perspiration in the humid environment, and misty clouds obscured the further reaches of my sight.
My reverie quickly dissipated as a noisy family of tourists entered the jungle, but the other-worldly feeling remained. I slowly moved along the gently climbing walkway as it took me away from the under storey of plants. Tall ferns filtered the light in place to a greenish glow.
Aerial Prop Roots of the Pandanaceae
It doesn't take long to walk from one end to the other, but seats are there to tempt visitors to while away some introspective time as they enjoy the (slightly clammy) atmosphere. The conservatory is not only home to Australian plants but also some endangered rainforest plants from northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and south Pacific Islands.
Towering Palms @ Bicentennial Conservatory
If you're not sure what to do in Adelaide, a visit to the Bicentennial Conservatory is something you must try. It is quite an experience for all the family, and best of all - it is now free to visit. Visitors should take care on the wet paths, as the automatic sprays to maintain humidity can make these a little slippery.
Informative Displays Guide Visitors